How Copper and Zinc Can Help Heal Your Joints
Copper and zinc play very important roles when it comes to healthy connective tissue, cartilage, discs, and blood vessels. Today I am going to teach you how these nutrients can actually heal joint damage. But first I want to tell you a little story. Recently, I ran and completed my first 5K race. I know for you runners out there it may not seem like much. But for me, this marked a significant victory in my life as I had just started running again a year ago.
I started out jogging last summer to help with weight control. What happened is I had a COVID infection. I had healed and recovered from that but I felt I was not as healthy as I wanted to be. I was doing okay with my diet, but I still was missing something. There was this urge to get more physically active and I decided I wanted to run again. So, I started jogging to help with weight control.
As I progressed my distance, my conditioning got a lot better. I’m that kind of type A personality and I’m always thinking if a little is good, more is better. I’m always trying to challenge myself and that’s what I decided to do. My conditioning was getting better. The running was coming together and I said, you know what? I need to challenge myself. I decided I was going to run in a 5K race.
When I first started jogging last summer, I was only able to jog for like a quarter of a mile before I had to stop and walk. The muscles burned in my legs and it made my thighs and feet feel like bocks of concrete. It was killing me to even push past that quarter mile. Then, my back would tighten up and my lower back would get super tight. It was all the lactic acid buildup.
I would have to run, walk, run, walk that quarter mile. Over time, as long as I stayed persistent with it, I was able to start pushing my distance longer. I was able to shorten the walking distance and eventually got to the point where I could cover two miles without stopping. Then, I got to the point where I could cover two and a half miles. Finally, about a week before the 5K race, I completed that first 3.1 miles. I had to make sure I could do it because I didn’t want to go into this race and embarrass myself. It took me a year of hard work, but I was able to work myself up to that.
When I was in high school, I ran cross country, if you can believe that. I ran cross country in ninth grade, but switched to football the next year, because quite honestly, cross country is hard.
It is difficult and it was painful. I decided I would rather get hit than run. So, I played football for the next three years.
The Journey Continues
When I was on active duty in the Army, we ran quite a bit. When I left the military in 1992, I started college and began working into competitive powerlifting meets. Like most weightlifters, cardio was like a bad word. You just don’t do it. I stopped running and didn’t do any cardio. My focus was on weight training and getting bigger, heavier, and stronger. I had not done any jogging since 1992 until last summer. So, after I finished this 5K race, it really got me thinking. One of the thoughts that came to my mind is running and life are a lot alike.
Running and life can both be very physically demanding. They both are also much more of a mental challenge. Much of everything we do is just in our heads. What I found was the more you think about it while running, the harder it gets. Suddenly, that distance can seem a lot further. Your legs seem more tired. You feel like you’re breathing a lot heavier. Your mind just keeps telling you these things over and over again. When it starts playing this loop in my head, I start telling myself maybe it’s too far. Maybe it’s too hard, I should really just stop and walk.
One of the things I found was if I distracted myself from that constant loop, I could go even further. I could run better and not think about it as much. I started wearing earbuds, initially listening to music and then progressed to listening to podcasts. That took my mind off of everything. As I was able to distract myself, running got easier. Once I could distract my mind, I started focusing on the positive things during the run.
Things like how good is it going to feel when I finish and all of the great progress I was making. Just putting one foot in front of the other. How far I had gone and not how much was left. When you distract your mind from the negative things and focus on all of the positives, it is absolutely amazing as to what you can achieve. I think this holds true with life in general. The more we focus on the positives, the easier it is for us to keep moving forward. But you see, if you create this negative loop in your mind, all it does is it allows yourself to start believing all the negativity which will hold you back.
Speaking of holding you back, if you are lacking Copper and Zinc in your diet, it can really affect your joints.
I’m not talking about copper braces. I’m talking about copper as a supplement. Copper plays a huge role in your health. It is essential for things like brain development and maintenance of your brain health. Efficient communication between nerve cells. Maintenance of your skin and connective tissue. It’s necessary for wound healing, heart and blood vessel health, as well as keep them healthy. It’s used for energy production and collagen formation.
Here’s how it helps you. Copper will reduce the rate of arthritis. Support joint health through its role in collagen production. It even has cancer prevention through its antioxidant properties. It reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Improves the immune system and helps prevent osteoporosis.
Copper also has a very important role in the creation of connective tissue. Healthy connective tissue is needed for your cartilage, discs, and blood vessels. Copper helps with the cross-linking (coming together) of collagen and elastin. It does this during the process of creating the connective tissue.
When collagen and elastin are effectively cross-linked, there is less wear and tear on your joints because your connective tissue is strong.
What does this mean to you? Without copper in your body, your joints will wear out faster. You’re going to get arthritis quicker, degenerative disc disease or overall disc problems and will lead to more pain. Not only does this happens by impairing aspects of the collagen and elastin cross-link I talked about but the immune and tissue repair process as well.
Let’s shift gears and talk a little bit about the joint healing power of Zinc. Most of us already know zinc can improve your immune system and recover from a cold faster. But here’s what you probably didn’t know. Zinc has a very significant healing power for the cartilage in your joints. Arthritis, and other degenerative diseases are characterized by high oxidative stress resulting in cartilage cell death, and cartilage damage. Zinc has been implicated in the antioxidant capacity of the cell and the lack of zinc can inhibit the growth of cartilage cells.
Without getting too technical, zinc inhibits the enzymes which contribute to the oxidation in the joints and activates the defense enzymes that destroy free radicals in the body. Several studies have shown that zinc can protect the joints against arthritis and is an effective supplement to keep your joints healthy. Not only are copper and zinc essential minerals for your overall health, they’re good for your joints too.
Take a look at your current joint supplement and see if you have copper and zinc in there. Which, by the way, if you’re having trouble with back pain, then you really must check out our Backpain Breakthrough Session. This is a one-on-one session with one of our licensed therapists who will get to the root cause of your back pain. They will also get you pain relief and on the right track in that first session. You can book your session HERE.
As always, I’m going to leave you with a thought-provoking quote. This one is from Henry Ward Beecher, “It’s easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.” So, chew on that one.
Until next time. Power Your Life and keep moving forward.